State and federal unemployment benefit payments that have been paid out during the coronavirus pandemic have exceeded $10 billion. That's according to the state's 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.