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Rising layoffs are hammering American workers, spelling more pain to come for consumer spending, the housing market and the broader economy.

New claims for jobless benefits increased by more than expected last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. And companies from Goldman Sachs to Yahoo have announced thousands of layoffs in the past few days as the financial crisis, tighter credit, rising foreclosures and myriad other woes take their toll on the economy.

The employment outlook for Americans will likely get worse, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Thursday.

"Given the financial damage to date, I cannot see how we can avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment," Greenspan told a House committee Thursday.

The Labor department said new applications for unemployment insurance rose 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 478,000, above analysts' estimates of 470,000.

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