By John S. McClenahen For workers losing their jobs during the first calendar quarter of this year, the statistics are little solace. But according to U.S. Labor Department figures released May 18, both the number of layoffs and the number of workers affected were the lowest for any January-March quarter since 2000. During the first quarter of 2004, there were 1,204 mass layoffs by employers in the private nonfarm sector of the U.S. economy. Some 239,361 workers were without their jobs for at last 31 days. Company restructurings accounted for 25% of layoffs and affected 55,376 workers. Permanent closure of worksites accounted for 17% of all layoffs and affected 42,814 workers.