This article studies the 2008 onwards recession using 50 years of observations in the 34 OECD member countries. We use this dataset to describe the characteristics (depth, duration, etc) of a median recession as well as the distribution of those characteristics over the entire sample of actual recessions, The Great Recession’s depth, duration and cross-country synchronicity are outstanding. We extend our analysis to lower levels of aggregation, studying expenditures on one side and seven sectoral GDP on the other side. We find that the Great recession is largely investment-driven, while consumption resists in France and, to a lesser extent, Germany. On the sectoral side, the contraction of French manufacturing is severe. The negative impact on the construction sector only becomes unusually strong in the last year of the sample.