The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance fell last week in a sign of stronger labor market conditions, but the drop was less than expected, government data showed on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 470,000 in the week ended January 23, after rising for three weeks in a row, the Labor Department said in a report.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dipping to 450,000 from a previously reported 482,000.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)