New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, government data showed on Thursday, but were still too high to signal a change in fortunes for the troubled labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped for a second straight week, slipping 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000 in the week ended August 28, the Labor Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims edging up to 475,000 from the previously reported 473,000 the prior week, which was revised up to 478,000 in Thursday's report.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by James Dalgleish)