News Photo by Julie Riddle An employee cares for a customer at the Family Dollar store in Rogers City Friday.

ALPENA — Go to work, work hard, potentially expose yourself to a deadly virus, and earn minimum wage.

Or stay at home and earn $24 an hour, thanks to generous unemployment benefits approved by Congress to soften the economic blow of coronavirus-related shutdowns that sent many employees home two months ago.

When an employee can bring in more money by not working, Northeast Michigan employers may well worry whether they’ll have the help they need to keep their businesses alive as the state moves toward loosening restrictions and getting the economy back on its feet.

Since mid-March, unemployment filings in Alpena County have increased

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