The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance fell slightly less than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, while the number of people still drawing benefits unexpectedly rose.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 444,000 in the week ended May 8, the Labor Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to slide to 440,000 from the previously reported 444,000, which was revised up to 448,000 in Thursday's report.

The four-week moving average of new claims, considered a better measure of underlying job market trends, dropped 9,000 to 450,500.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)