According to the state Department of Economic Development, 6,777 new jobs in Virginia have been announced in the past 90 days, and 37,996 have been announced since Gov. Gerald L. Baliles took office in 1986. However, the fact is most of them aren't here yet.

It takes time to translate announcements into projects, so in a random survey, United Press International focused on the 26,494 new jobs announced in 1986. Half the 25 companies surveyed had fewer employes than expected as reported in the Department of Economic Development's annual report.

Some of the differences are striking. Electronic Data Systems, which expected to bring 12,000 jobs to Fairfax County, has brought 1,100 so far. Time-Life Books, expected to bring 350 jobs to Richmond, has brought 150.

In some cases, such as with Kermath Manufacturing of Henrico County, the dream is just hitting the market. The economic development office said a new line of medical equipment would create 50 new jobs. None is there yet, as orders are just starting to roll in.

The department, under Secretary Richard Bagley, takes neither credit nor blame for rosy numbers. The annual report stresses it is based on announcements of plans; spokeswoman Betty Page said the idea is to keep track of "new money coming into the state."

In many cases, the numbers from the economic development office refer to people who have moved to the state to keep their jobs rather than new jobs being created.

For instance, United Services Life Insurance Co. was credited with 400 jobs with its new Arlington County office. Human Resources Director Bob Werks said 600 people currently work there but most moved from the company's former office in the District. "We have essentially the same employes," he said.

The same holds true for Benay-Albee Novelty, which was expected to bring 200 jobs to Newport News. There are 190 currently there, but most of the workers transferred from a New York plant.

Two companies listed in the annual report could not be found in the telephone directory -- American Rebar Corp. which announced 20 jobs in Henrico and Southern Wholesale Glass which announced 15 jobs for Richmond.

Some companies that were right on scheduled included Food Lion's $16 million expansion in Prince George County with 200 employes and Albright & Wilson's expansion in Hanover County. "One-hundred people? We're just one short of that right now and we expect to add four or five people by the end of the year," said Vice President Bill Short.

More precise figures on jobs comes from the Virginia Employment Commission. Analyst William Mezger said comparing his numbers, based on wide scientific surveys and tax records, and those from the development office "is comparing apples to oranges."

"They count primarily manufacturing, wholesaling and warehousing," Mezger said. "They don't generally count trade and services, where we've been getting new growth."

Development office numbers "are a figure gotten from the employer at what the plant will have when it reaches full employment," Mezger said. "It may take several years to get to that point." According to the employment commission, the number of new jobs in Virginia since Baliles took office is roughly 176,000.

Page said the Department of Economic Development looks at "basic versus nonbasic employment," and that "nonbasic employment is usually paid for by money already circulating within the community."

In terms of how long it takes companies to convert plans into reality, "it may be a matter of days, a matter of months," Page said. It really varies."

The development office also plays a role in attracting foreign investment to Virginia. Eleven percent of new investment in the state last year came from overseas firms.