Confusing? Well, remember that I am boots on the ground in the real US manufacturing economy. I did not just theorize about machine tools. I sold one (pending the buyer's funding of course) that was excess to my [other] company's needs and was pleasantly surprised by the price it sold for. It got snapped up in a day, by the way. This was very different from the environment 2 years ago.
The dealer's words to me were that people just cannot find these things and the demand is strong. He said 2011 ended strong, January dropped off (right in line w/ the commenter's link) but February heated back up again. Then he sold my machine in a day.
The January number is backward looking and gives deflationists a chance to get excited. For all I know, the current brisk February environment will crash and burn promptly. We just do not know. But I did not write that post based by having cooked up what I wanted to believe. I just reported the details as they have come in.
There are too many people promoting entrenched viewpoints and agendas out there. No here.