The growth performance of countries proved to be very different during the recent crisis. We apply principal component analysis to derive a single ordinal indicator on growth performance and to analyse whether initial conditions of economies or structural characteristics can explain the differences in growth performance. As initial conditions at the start of the crisis we use fiscal situation, trade competitiveness, output and credit growth, as structural characteristics we test size, openness, share of sectors and per-capita income. The task has proved to be as difficult as expected as causality often works in two ways and policy variables have intervened, which themselves are dependent on the initial conditions and structural characteristics. The three indicators that end up as the best predictors for the depth of the crisis are correlated with one another and thus difficult to disentangle.