My job is to help my hospital cope with the nursing shortage -- which includes keeping up on all the latest information, etc.
Yes, the nursing shortage is real -- it's just more complicated than some people would like to think. For example, it's worse in some areas of the country than in others -- and worse in some towns than in neighboring towns, etc. Similarly, some particular hospitals and some particular specialties are harder hit than others. That's why some people may have trouble getting the particular job they want in spite of the fact that overall, there is an international shortage.
For example, I work at a major children's hospital that pays competitive wages, is considered to be a good place to work, has good nurse/patient ratios, etc. Our turnover rate is acceptable. Most of our units are well-staffed and we have little trouble filling the vacancies that naturally occur as people move away, retire, have kids, etc. However, like many hospitals, we have significant problems with our PICU, NICU, ED, and OR. These units all have patients with extreme acuity, high stress, and/or require a lot of extra education for the staff. Very few new grads are adequately prepared to enter these fields right away and only a few experienced nurses want to switch specialties after they have gotten comfortable on their general med/surg units. This makes it hard to find RN's for these specialties in spite of the fact that we pay a 5% differential for working in them.
Finally, we have learned through experience that it's not worth it to hire "simply anybody" to fill an open slot. If that person is not a good match for the job, it will only cause pain for everyone (i.e. preceptors) involved if we try to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. We therefore turn away a few nurses who apply in spite of having open positions.
So ... some people might have trouble finding a job in spite of the shortage. They may be living in an area where the shortage is not severe, looking for a position in a popular specialty that yields lots of applicants, or applying for a particular position which requires experience they don't have. That doesn't mean there is not a shortage.
If you are having trouble finding a job, I suggest you do a lot of research into the particular supply and demand in your particular area. Talk with people knowledgable about the job market in that area so that you can make a plan to meet the qualifications of the jobs available. If there really are no jobs available in your town that interest you, then you will have to make some difficult choices about either switching specialties or looking elsewhere. The jobs are there ... they just might not be exactly where you want them to be.