The Great Recession refers to the severe global economic downturn that occurred in the late 2000s, particularly between 2007 and 2009. It was the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s and had widespread and profound effects on financial markets, businesses, and households around the world.

Key features of the Great Recession include:

1. **Financial Crisis:** The crisis had its roots in the U.S. housing market, where a housing bubble fueled by subprime mortgage lending burst. As home prices declined, many homeowners found themselves underwater on their mortgages, leading to a surge in mortgage defaults.

2. **Bank Failures and Financial Institutions:** The crisis quickly spread to the broader financial sector as many financial institutions faced significant losses on mortgage-related assets. Several major banks and financial institutions experienced distress, and some even faced bankruptcy or were forced to merge.

3. **Global Impact:** While the crisis originated in the United States, its impact quickly spread to other parts of the world. Many countries experienced recessions, financial market turmoil, and a decline in international trade.

4. **Stock Market Volatility:** Stock markets worldwide experienced sharp declines as investor confidence eroded. The U.S. stock market, in particular, saw a significant drop in equity values.

5. **Housing Market Collapse:** The collapse of the housing market had a profound impact on the construction industry and related sectors. Foreclosures increased, and many households saw a decline in their wealth as home values plummeted.

6. **Unemployment:** The recession led to widespread job losses as businesses faced financial challenges and cut costs. Unemployment rates rose significantly in many countries, reaching double digits in some cases.

7. **Government Responses:** Governments around the world implemented various measures to stabilize financial markets and stimulate economic growth. Central banks lowered interest rates, and fiscal stimulus packages were introduced to support demand.

8. **Auto Industry Crisis:** The automotive industry, particularly in the United States, faced a severe crisis as consumers cut back on spending, and major automakers experienced financial difficulties.

9. **Economic Stimulus Programs:** Governments implemented various economic stimulus programs to counter the effects of the recession. These programs included infrastructure spending, tax cuts, and measures to stabilize the financial sector.

The Great Recession had a lasting impact on economic policies, financial regulation, and public perceptions of economic stability. It prompted discussions about the need for reforms in the financial sector and led to changes in regulatory frameworks to prevent similar crises in the future. The effects of the recession were felt for several years, and its legacy influenced economic policymaking in subsequent years.