The chart that shows 'America HAD talent'

Concerned investors mulling over the possibility of an oncoming U.S. recession look away now.

A new piece of research from JPMorgan this week signposted what could be a worrying trend in the quality of America's workforce, which it says is having its lowest contribution to overall growth since 1979.

"Growth in the skills of the U.S. workforce contributed less than 0.1 percent to GDP (gross domestic product) growth last year," JPMorgan's chief U.S. economist, Michael Feroli, said in a note Thursday entitled "America had talent."

Dipping into the archive, Feroli explained that 1980 to 2005 was a "golden age" for U.S. labor quality. Baby boomers were better-educated than their parents, more experienced after living through the 1960s and 1970s, and caused a "remarkable growth" in the average skillset of the American worker.

However, that trend is now over, according to JPMorgan, with a loose labor market meaning jobs will go to "marginal participants" as the more experienced baby boomers reach retirement.

"There are good reasons to think the recent subdued growth in labor quality is likely to persist. An encouraging pop up in college enrollment (following the 2008 financial crash) soon fizzled out as the labor market improved," Feroli said.

The bank expects the contribution of "labor quality" to average less than 0.1 percentage point over the next three years, compared to 1 to 3 percentage points during the "golden age."

The research is likely to compound concerns of a downturn. Last week, Goldman Sachs analysts stated there's currently a 15-20 percent chance of a U.S. recession being around the corner. JPMorgan's preferred macroeconomic indicator is currently pointing to a 32 percent chance of a recession within the next 12 month. And Citigroup this week warned of escalating risks for a global recession.

However, U.S. durable goods orders this week suggested the manufacturing sector was on some firmer ground and St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard told CNBC Thursday that he's not too concerned about the chances of a world recession.

This jobs mystery, sometimes known as a productivity puzzle, is not confined to the U.S., however. Productivity is defined as the amount of output produced per hour of work, and it's been mystifying British economists too.

Some have spoken of low-income, low-skilled occupations and new employees doing jobs they're not yet accustomed to. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a new report on the U.K. this week and highlighted "sluggish" productivity in the labor force that was "still well below pre-crisis levels."

A store front window in Miami Beach.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
A store front window in Miami Beach.

Catherine Mann, OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) chief economist and G-20 finance deputy, has called for a policy shift for "higher and more inclusive productivity" in developed nations and has spoken of the benefits of more investment.

Speaking at event in the U.K. last May, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, said the "unprecedented stall in productivity" in the U.K. since 2006 was due to a lack of improvement in technology and also the possibility that the U.K. was in a "disguised depression."

"All technology from the iPhone onwards has had zero impact on the British economy. It's made no progress whatsoever despite all of this stuff," he told an audience in Oxford.