The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week, government data on Thursday showed, but so-called continued claims rose to a fresh record as the recession bit.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits declined 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 610,000 in the week ended April 11 from a revised 663,000 the week before, the Labor Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 655,000 new claims versus a previously reported count of 654,000 the week before.

(Reporting by Alister Bull, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)