The number of people in Newfoundland and Labrador who rank among Canada's top earners has catapulted, federal tax statistics suggest.

Statistics Canada says the number of people earning salaries higher than $200,000 has jumped by 51 per cent since 2006.

More than 2,000 people in the province now fall into that category.

Alison Coffin, who teaches economics at Memorial University, said Thursday the number will continue to climb.

"We are now in a position where we have to - if we want to attract good, smart, educated, capable people - we have to pay them on par with other jobs across Canada that are comparable to that," Coffin said.

"We are going to see that at higher levels, and we are also going to see that at lower levels."

Coffin said salaries in many sectors lagged behind other provinces, but that has been changing with new developments, as well as a shift in the long-term economic outlook.

Coffin noted, though, that the spike in executive positions does not mean that Newfoundland and Labrador is automatically a wealthier province.

"We're seeing an influx of high-salaried positions, but not so much of an increase in the wealth and the investment money into the province, and that why we're seeing a bit of a disparity, because the number of people in these top positions are now flowing into the province as we need them," she said.

 Coffin said the top earners tend to work in the offshore oil industry, mining and other parts of the private sector.