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During the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century, Florence's economy was transformed from being based largely on rail and farming into a diversified economy as the major commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care, and industrial center of the Eastern Carolinas. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth.

Milken Institute 2008 Best Performing Cities Index showed the Florence MSA as the 5th largest gainer in their evaluation of the top 124 small metropolitan areas in the United States. The components include job, wage and salary and technology growth.

The city of Florence has a council-manager form of government.

With such a strong medical community several companies have their global, continental, or national headquarters in Florence, including General Electric Medical Systems manufacturing operations {MRI (anufacturing), TRICARE, a supplemental insurance company that serves the US Armed Forces and its civilian employees, and Assurant, a real property and personal insurance company.

The city also serves the pharmaceutical industry, with a Patheon pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and research and development center for Patheon API Services.

Industry grew, especially after World War II, when Florence became increasingly known for textiles, pharmaceuticals, paper, and manufacturing, in addition to agricultural products.

Florence is located in the coastal plain of South Carolina.

Jeffries Creek is a tributary of the Great Pee Dee River and is the main waterway that flows through the city, passing south of the city center.