State and federal unemployment benefit payments that have been paid out during the coronavirus pandemic have exceeded $10 billion, according to the N.C. Division of Employment Security.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported Tuesday that most of that money was paid out months ago.

For instance, more than $8 billion was paid out between late March and the end of September. Since October, unemployment benefits have totaled slightly less than $2 billion.

Overall, there have been 3.36 million initial unemployment claims during the pandemic. But unemployment claims are continuing to drop in the state.

State officials reported that there were a combined 12,043 initial claims filed from Friday through Monday.